MIAMI — For the second night in a row, the Miami Heat were without several key players, but this time their second-half comeback culminated in a 114-109 overtime win against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Starters Hassan Whiteside (ankle), Luol Deng (thigh contusion), and Goran Dragic (lower back contusion) were all ruled out before tipoff, though Dwyane Wade was able to start after missing Friday’s road game against the Washington Wizards.
Unsurprisingly, the Kings raced out to an early lead and shot 6 of 7 from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Despite the deficit increasing to double digits in the second quarter, Miami managed to cut the deficit to five points with three minutes left in the half.
Sacramento responded with a 13-4 run to increase its lead up to 14 at halftime. Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore combined for 35 of the Kings’ 61 points through the first two quarters, which also marked the second time in as many nights the Heat allowed more than 60 points by halftime.
After being limited in the first half because of early foul trouble, DeMarcus Cousins began to make his presence felt in the third quarter as he met with little resistance in the paint with Whiteside out. Sacramento stretched its lead to 16 on a Cousins layup with 4:24 left in the third quarter.
With just nine active players, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra elected to go ultra-small, even going so far as playing Michael Beasley at center alongside James Ennis, Henry Walker, Mario Chalmers and Tyler Johnson at one point late in the third quarter.
Much like the game against the Washington Wizards, the small lineup allowed them to get back into the game, as did the liberal use of zone defense. Beasley was a factor not just on offense but also with his valiant efforts fronting Cousins.
Behind the efforts of the reserves along with Wade, the Heat outplayed the Kings down the stretch and had their biggest lead of the night at 96-92 only to allow the game to be tied with 40 seconds left to force overtime.